If you haven’t been to Victoria Falls, do yourself a favor and book a ticket right now.
While you're at it, consider Kruger National Park and hitting four additional Southern African countries in one week - a feat my friends and I embarked on for our mid-semester break. I promise you won’t regret it.
For some inspiration, I’ve included a series of pictures my friends and I took below. I have to preface by saying this was probably the coolest trip of my life. Seriously. Here’s a quick overview of all the spots we hit:
Kruger National Park
There’s a reason why this place is famous. Not only is it huge, but incredibly beautiful. Though we went when the area was fairly dry, we still saw elephants, giraffes, African buffalos, white rhinos, hundreds of impalas, hyenas, and even three leopards. We went on three game drives and had a fantastic braai (the South African equivalent of an American barbeque) in the bush under an incredibly starry sky.
Johannesburg, South Africa
We rode to Johannesburg from Kruger to visit the apartheid museum and Nelson Mandela’s house in the Soweta township. I felt that Johannesburg had more bustle than Cape Town and was fascinated by how different it felt – it’s easy to forget that Cape Town, a diverse and coastal city, has its own unique cosmopolitan energy! Nevertheless, there was no better place to learn about South Africa’s history than in Joburg and Soweto, the home of a number of influential South African names, including comedian Trevor Noah.
Livingstone, Zambia (Victoria Falls!)
Upon arriving in Zambia, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My first thought, aside from my excitement from acquiring a colorful new visa, was the heat. Why couldn’t Cape Town be this warm?? The heat pretty quickly became a nuisance, but Livingstone itself only became more fun to explore. Our first day, we trekked excitedly around the massive Victoria Falls settled right on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are drier this time of year, but still incredibly beautiful and always framed with multiple rainbows coming out of the base. The hiking trails took us two hours in total, after which we crossed over to the Zimbabwe side to see the town of Victoria Falls and grab some lunch.
Chobe National Park
Our last day, we took a ferry over to Botswana for a morning game drive and afternoon river safari in Chobe National Park. Even after seeing animals in Kruger, we were excited to see more and see some from the Chobe River. Of the animals we saw on our drive, my favorite had to be the elephants. With Chobe being home to around 50,000 elephants, we encountered babies, tweens, teens, matriarchs, lone bachelors, and older elephants. Each with an observably unique personality, we got to watch them interact and play together. On our river safari, we also got to see hippos, crocodiles, beautiful birds, and more elephants swimming in the river.
Twelve passport stamps and a couple thousand photos later, I’ll probably never get sick of telling people about this trip! Hopefully, you are convinced that you need to go – and are willing to grab an extra ticket so I can tag along again...
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<p>Hi! I'm junior at Wake Forest University studying economics and sociology. I spent the first seven years of my life in Africa, so it was a no-brainer that I wanted to study there in college. Home is right outside of DC, where I embrace the opportunity to act like a tourist in my own city. For me, a perfect day would entail a trip to the beach, true crime dramas, and roasted brussels sprouts.</p>